Dr. Demento

From Academic Kids

Dr. Demento (born April 2, 1941) is the stage name of Barret ("Barry") Hansen, who has made a successful career as a radio disc jockey specializing in novelty songs and pop music parodies. He created the persona in 1970 while working at Los Angeles station KPPC-FM. His weekly show went into syndication in 1974 and is still on the air as of 2005, as well as hosting a "best of" show on XM Satellite Radio. He has also released many compilations of music featured on his show on vinyl records, audio tape cassettes and compact discs.

To some people, he is best known as the man who brought rock parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic to national attention.

Hansen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1941, the son of an amateur pianist, and claims to have started his vast record collection as early as age 12, when he found "that a local thrift store had thousands of old 78 RPM records for sale at 5 cents each." He attended Reed College, where he wrote a thesis on Wagnerian opera, and later the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from which he earned a master's degree in music.

Hansen has developed a particular interest in the roots of rock 'n' roll in R&B and country music, and has written about it in many magazine articles, liner notes to compilations and new recordings by a variety of artists, and two chapters on early R&B for The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. His shows and public appearances display an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of recorded music in general, from the earliest Edison cylinder recordings onward.

Featured musicians

Musicians that Dr. Demento regularly features include:

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